To Aberdeen and back again
We outlined the route, stopping a grand total of 5 times along the way, to land at Aberdeen airport. All set and done we just made a few phone calls to double check the AIP information on all our desired airfields was correct. And came to the conclusion that in the UK, lots of times the AIP is not so correct. AVGAS: yes on AIP, no in reality. We are open until 2000LT in AIP: no we close at 1600LT. And as a kicker, Aberdeen airport has a mandatory handler rule. €300,- just for someone to point you to a parking place. And that is before refuelling. So, the last three days were filled with planning and re-planning. Until we left on the morning of 07-05-2022 with a set route and more or less an approval on a landing spot at Aboyne Airfield 20 km West on Banchory. During the trip, this would be changed to Elma’s backyard; her neighbours to be more precise.
The route would be:
- EHLE - Lelystad Airport
- EHMZ - Vliegveld Midden-Zeeland
- EGMD - Lydd Airport
- EGWK - Wickenby Airfield
- Eshott - Eshott Airfield
- EGPT - Perth Airport
- Elma - Banchory
And we rolled out PH-FVD to depart… on the one morning that we were bogged down with fog until 1030LT. So, with a 2.5 hour delay, we set off.
Figure 1 Foggy beginnings.
Figure 2 Almost above departure minima.
Figure 3 Who's up for some flying?
We used Midden-Zeeland as our port of exit. And yes, your passport will be checked here if you travel to the UK from here.
Figure 4 The well-known EHMZ
The ever so picturesque Lydd Airport, as can be seen in the picture below. As a controlled non-radar equipped airport with an overhead joining pattern and quite some activity, it is a good exercise to visit. We used it as our port of entry. When landing here, do have your GenDec prepared and ready, as someone will be waiting for your arrival.
Figure 5 It was a tight fit, but we made it work.
Two crossing runways, overhead joining, all left-hand circuit. Unless there is aerobatics ongoing. Then Circle and come in from the West on instructions from the ground by radio. Very friendly staff who supplied us with hot drinks and cake, even though catering was already closed. And even better, they specially opened up the airfield for us to refuel, on the flight home.
Figure 6 Downwind Wickenby Airfield
Figure 7 Friendly staff and well-kept location.
Once a three-runway setup, now only a quarter of one airstrip remains. So a fly over assess the situation is an advisable thing to do. Eshott Airfield is a ZZZZ location, which makes planning a bit more difficult. But with PPR you are allowed to land after closing hours, so that is a bonus. And even though they are small, they are well equipped (100LL and A1) and all is kept very tidy. All in all, a lovely little airfield with a small B&B about 5 minutes driving away. Do keep in mind it is a publicly accessible airfield. As we encountered people walking their dogs just at the end of the runway, on our departure.
Figure 8 Analysed the runway situation. Turning base for a full stop.
Figure 9 Who said romance is dead.
Figure 10 Maybe one more cup of coffee before departure?
Figure 11 Passing almost for well-behaved men.
Figure 12 Always nice, fuel bowser service.
Nice triangle shaped, three runway setup. Not the most scenic of airports but very functional. And to compensate the area is of course filled with castles, mansions and beautiful rock formations; as seems is the whole of Scotland. You do need to make sure that your flight plan is opened and closed when leaving and departing, with area ATS. As the tower seems to have forgotten(?) that in our case.
Landing in Elma’s backyard: Banchory heliport.
Elma’s neighbour very kindly let us land and park in his backyard. Otherwise, we might have had to invoke our right to roam? Although that might not be extended to roaming by R44.
Figure 13 PH-FVD, final.
Figure 14 Prepping an R44 for bed.
Figure 15 Accomplished trip picture time.
Figure 16 It’s a perfect fit. We’ll take it.
Return at EHLE
The flight back we did in one day. Departing at 0800LT and arriving 2000LT at EHLE. One long day, a good night sleep after.
Figure 17 PH-FVD did well. She deserved her rest.
To all that were of service and hospitality on our trip, we say thank you. And of course, a very special thanks to our sky gold and platinum card hold… oh no, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. A big thanks to Elma and Imke for letting us stay over and giving us a warm welcome. Although next time you really do not have to go through the hassle of organising a bagpipe event when we come over. Walking around CHC was the cherry on top, a good motivation to keep going with our studies.